Personal injury law changes from state to state. Understanding how to navigate personal injury cases in California is Chain | Cohn | Clark’s specialty.
Personal injury can include any type of physical harm sustained by an individual due to someone else’s negligence. If another party does not meet certain expectations and it results in your suffering, you may be eligible to pursue damages from them.
Even though it makes sense that the liable party should have to pay, holding them accountable may be more difficult than it sounds. Luckily, the California injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark have years of experience helping people like you navigate personal injury cases..
The first step to filing a California personal injury claim is determining whether or not you have a viable case for compensation. There are a variety of unique circumstances that may warrant you to pursue damages, and you may want to speak with a lawyer before moving forward.
The most common cause of personal injury accidents is negligence, which occurs when one party makes a mistake or error that leads to the harm of another person. Negligence can include an individual making the incorrect choice to the individual not making a choice at all (when they should have). Examples of personal injury negligence cases include car accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability accidents, workers’ compensation accidents, etc.
There are other cases in which a victim is entitled to personal injury benefits in California. If an individual commits an intentionally harmful act against the victim, they may be able to pursue civil damages alongside the criminal punishments being administered. In cases of assault or homicide, the victim—or their loved ones—can recover benefits for what they have lost.
A defendant can also be held accountable for taking part in the manufacturing or distribution of defective products. Even if they had no intention of wrongdoing and were not negligent, if they made a product that caused harm, they might be liable for damages. Defective products that cause harm may include bad seatbelts, airbags that don’t deploy, and more.
A brief consultation with a California personal injury attorney is the best way to determine whether or not you have a solid case for compensation. At Chain | Cohn | Clark, we have decades of experience representing California residents just like you. We know when a claim is likely to work out or fall through.
Personal injury claims can vary greatly from case to case. They differ in complexity, severity of injury, settlement size, involved parties, necessary evidence, and so on. However, the steps of a lawsuit follow a general format.
After an accident, you should contact a lawyer and begin collecting evidence for your case. The attorney will immediately begin working on an investigation to determine the cause of your injuries. Once you and your attorney feel that you have a solid amount of evidence, you can begin negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company or legal team.
Many people are concerned about hiring a personal injury lawyer because they are afraid of how much it might cost. Here at Chain | Cohn | Clark, we work on a contingency basis, meaning the cost of hiring a lawyer depends on how much you win. And if you don’t win, you don’t owe us anything. Even the initial case evaluation is free of charge.
Representing yourself in a personal injury case may be advisable if your injuries are minor and there isn’t much at stake. In lawsuits where there is more money at risk, however, it’s best to hire legal counsel. Otherwise, you may not recover the full benefits you deserve.
A good California personal injury attorney will fight to prove that the accident was not your fault and has affected you in a way that has led to you needing compensation. There are multiple types of personal injury compensation that a plaintiff can recover for their injuries in California. The two main types are compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are meant to pay the victim back for their suffering. This category is further broken down into special and general compensatory damages, which cover actual (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and subjective (pain and suffering, loss of companionship, etc.) expenses, respectively.
Punitive damages are more unusual and are only awarded when the defendant needs to be punished. They aim to discourage similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages can significantly increase a settlement’s value but are only involved in cases of gross negligence with powerful liable parties.
The state of California has a few laws which apply to personal injury cases and can influence the value of your settlement. The two you should consider are comparative negligence and settlement limits.
Comparative negligence, or shared fault, is the idea that a victim can be partially responsible for their own injuries. If you were liable in any way for causing your own injuries, the defendant may not have to pay the full value of damages. This is one reason it’s so important to hire a California personal injury attorney.
If the other party can prove that you were to blame for the accident, you may only receive a fraction of the rewards you deserve. A good lawyer can help you refute the other party’s arguments and prove that they were mostly, if not wholly, responsible for what happened.
Personal injury case limits, while very specific, can also affect your settlement substantially. In the case of a car accident, uninsured drivers cannot recover non-economic damages in California. They will not be compensated for pain and suffering or other subjective costs beyond their actual expenses.
Non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case are limited to $250,000 in total. The full settlement can be larger, but the portion from non-economic damages cannot go higher than a quarter of a million dollars. Other more specific laws may also affect your settlement, which is why a California personal injury lawyer who knows them can seriously benefit your efforts.
There is no set timeline for recovering personal injury compensation, however, there are some factors that may have an effect on how long your case lasts.
The most significant factor is whether or not your case is settled or goes to trial. A majority of California personal injury cases are settled before they ever make it to a courtroom. If the involved parties cannot reach an agreement and the case is taken before a jury, it will take much longer to receive a settlement. Depending on the details of your case, advancing to the courtroom may be beneficial to you, as it could lead to a higher settlement.
In any event, the California statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years. This means that a claim must be brought within that time period or there are no grounds for compensation. This ensures that the details of a case will be somewhat recent, and prevents victims from waiting to pursue damages.
At Chain | Cohn | Clark, we recommend you take action as soon as possible on your case. If you experience any delays or issues when filing, you will be cutting it close to the deadline the longer you wait.
Additionally, the jury pays attention to how long you wait to file. If you submit a claim right away, it demonstrates you were affected by the accident and need compensation. If you wait a year and a half, it could look like you weren’t that much in need of any assistance.
Give your lawyer ample time to collect documents and perform an investigation. Working under pressure can lead to details being missed and may reduce the value of your final settlement.
There are several factors to consider when searching for a California personal injury lawyer. Before choosing a law firm, you will want to check out their location, expertise, and past case results. Most attorneys will charge a similar fee for their work, but they won’t all achieve the same results.
You want to hire someone who knows your specific area. While the laws might be the same in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the way in which courtrooms proceed may differ, the experts who have credibility may differ, and the people may differ. Although headquartered in Bakersfield, Chain | Cohn | Clark has represented personal injury victims across the state of California.
Our personal injury lawyers reserve their resources for you. You can call our number at any time to begin your case. And once you have hired one of our attorneys, they will begin working immediately to support your claim. We have not become one of the most trusted personal injury law firms in the greater California area around Kern County by failing our clients.
Take a look at some of our case results to get a better idea of how we serve our partners, then fill out our online contact form or call (661) 616-9829 to get started.
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